5 Reasons to Take the Kids to Folk Fest

Folk Fest is here – Beginning in 1980 with one staff and 300 volunteers, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival has grown and matured to become one of the leading folk festivals in the world. Now boasting a volunteer force of over 2000 people, the festival in a not-for-profit society dedicated to bringing in the best of folk music from around the world. It’s also one of the great (and many) things to do with your kids during the summer in Edmonton.

  1. They can be independent. Contingent on their ages and your comfort level, it’s a wonderfully safe place to let them explore. At 8 and 9, our girls are free to wander. They know where each of our friends’ and family members’ tarps are set up, and how to find an adult they trust – should they need one. When they were a few years younger, we would send them to the playground or spray park with a timer on their watch – so they’d know exactly when to come back to our tarp to check in.
  2. They can make money. Apart from water and a few snacks from home, our girls each get $10 per day to pay for their meals and treats. Meal prices include a $2 plate deposit which is refunded when the plate is returned. For years, kids have been using this as an entrepreneurial opportunity, seeking out people who don’t really feel like walking back down the hill (or leaving the beer garden) to the plate return station – and cashing in on their plates. $2 a plate collected adds up fast, keeps the kids moving, and means less of a dent in your wallet.
  3. There is a lot for them to do. Even if live music isn’t up your kids’ alley, there is so much going on in the background. From bouncy castles and face painting (on Saturday), craft stations, to the spray park and playground – I promise you – they WILL NOT be bored.
  4. They’re allowed in the beer garden. Let’s be real, it’s so nice to be able to have a beer at a festival without excluding the kids. This is where mine make the most plate money, too.
  5. It’s FREE. Kids under 12 are completely free.

See you on the hill!




Julie Farrell lives with her two daughters, wife, and dog in a downtown Edmonton condo. She coordinates the Downtown Edmonton Community League’s Urban Kids program and is an advocate for community enhancement and mental health. Julie also blogs about urban family life, sustainability, and minimalism at www.fourinthecore.com.